The longest government shutdown in history came to a temporary close on January 25 after President Trump said he would endorse a short-term resolution to keep the government open for three weeks. But the temporary reopening does little to comfort those who were severely impacted by the shutdown.
Federal employees won’t receive back pay for at least a week. National parks face years of damage. The understaffed parks were also dangerous. Three deaths were reported in parks during the shutdown, and one injured man was brought to safety with the help of strangers passing through. Once park employees return, they will be responsible for cleaning up a massive mess left by visitors.
But for Jamie Spinello, the shutdown literally put her life at risk.
The Varnville, South Carolina woman is battling a laundry list of medical conditions and illnesses, including level 3 kidney disease, short bowel syndrome, and gastroparesis, which means that she no longer has stomach mobility. According to Jamie, 87% of her digestive system has been removed. Her body can no longer produce potassium.
The intestine, stomach and bowel conditions have made it impossible for Jamie to eat solid food. She relies on continual IV medication to keep the pain away and is now down to 63 pounds.
Jamie is unable to work due to her medical conditions. To help pay for her life-saving medications, she relies on a military alimony check.
But during the shutdown, Jamie didn’t receive that check.
To help Jamie, a GoFundMe account was set up and managed by AvaCare Medical, a medical supplies company that provides Jamie with supplies. The company has been in touch with Jamie and others affected by the shutdown to see how they can help. AvaCare sent Jamie a $100 gift card to help offset some of her expenses.
Jamie did not qualify for assistance with the federal or local government because she “made too much money.” Her monthly income is $900.
Without her check, Jamie was forced to push back doctor appointments, and delay or miss some medications.
Despite all of her struggles, Jamie is keeping a positive attitude. The only people she blames are U.S. elected officials. But she is committed to continuing her fight.
While the government has reopened temporarily, another potential shutdown is looming in the days ahead. Negotiations to avoid another partial government shutdown were off to a rocky start this week.